Whitby residents recreate 'Love Actually' scene to celebrate first commuter train service to Middlesbrough in nearly 30 years

Residents in Whitby have celebrated the introduction of a new commuter train service to Middlesbrough.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 1:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 1:33 pm

Leaving Whitby at 6.33am and arriving at Middlesbrough just before 8am Monday to Saturday, the new service is the first of this kind in nearly 30 years.

It allows passengers to catch onward connections to Darlington, Northallerton, York, Leeds and Newcastle and get to London and back in one day.

The new early morning train was launched on Monday December 16, a day after the new rail timetable came into effect, and was very much welcomed by the local community.

The Esk Valley Railway Team have a 'Love Actually' moment to celebrate the new service.

On Monday, the first 50 passengers were given a complimentary bacon butty supplied by The Tiffin, courtesy of Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership.

Pictures taken at Whitby station show the Esk Valley Railway Team recreating a 'Love Actually' scene to celebrate the launch and the service's first commuting dog, Jack, with his owner Colin Sykes.

Due to timetabling restrictions, not all stations can be served at the moment, so the stopping pattern in the initial timetable is mainly based on current usage.

Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership Chairman Alan Williams said: "We will be working with Northern to monitor passenger numbers during the first weeks and months of the new services to ensure that passengers gain maximum advantage."

Esk Valley Railway Chairman Alan Williams greeting the Northern driver.

The new timetable also provides an additional evening service, departing from Middlesbrough at 8.43pm and returning from Whitby at 10.21pm, which allows an evening out in Whitby or to most stations along the Esk Valley.

Jack, the first commuting dog, and his owner Colin Sykes.